Desktop Folder Manipulations

Opening Several Instances of the Desktop

It is easy to open several instances of the desktop. This is particularly useful in situations when the desktop area gets covered by too many windows--it is very nice to have a fresh new desktop window.

The settings notebook of almost every WPS object contains the Window page, which includes the Open Object Behavior section. From there, we can choose between "Display Existing Window" and "Create New Window" behaviors.

Setting Up Multiple Configurations

By default, during an OS/2 boot sequence the system reads the CONFIG.SYS file located in the root directory of the boot drive. It is possible to set up the system so that we can choose among a variety of CONFIG-type files, each defining a specific OS/2 configuration.

We have to perform the following steps: In the directory X:\OS2\BOOT [where X is the boot drive letter] create the counterparts for the main CONFIG.SYS file. They must have the names of the form CONFIG.Z where Z is any letter or number except 1,2,3,M,V,X. For each of such files, add a line of the form

[Z] My favorite Z-configuration
in the file ALTF1.MID, located in the directory X:\OS2\BOOT.

Now, in order to use created configurations we have to choose between the following two start-up options:

[1] Press Alt-F1 at the beginning of the boot process, when a small white box appears in the upper left corner of the screen. This will activate the Recovery Choices menu, from where all our configurations will be available. Choosing the letter Z means that the system will boot using our CONFIG.Z file, insted of the original CONFIg.SYS file.

[2] It is also possible to enable the Display Recovery Choices at each System Startup, from the Archive page of the Desktop settings notebook.

The config.sys variable DESKTOP identifies the main desktop of an OS/2 system. In order to set up multiple desktops it is sufficient to create multiple configurations as outlined above, each with its own config-file pointing to a different desktop. Each of these config files should also contain the SET statements for the variables USER_INI and SYSTEM_INI, which define the corresponding user and system initialization files.

Remark: The directory X:\OS2\BOOT contains three text-files used to display the Recovery Choices menu: ALTF1TOP.SCR, ALTF1MID.SCR and ALTF1BOT.SCR. These are read-only files and to edit them it is necessary to first remove the read-only attribute.

Non-standard Warp configurations

Full-screen command prompt

This configuration is defined by changing the default setting



Presentation Manager is not started during the system boot-up. Instead, a full screen command prompt is displayed. The system does not read USER_INI and SYSTEM_INI files.

The PM interface can be started by executing PMSHELL. The exact form of GUI is determined by the RUNWORKPLACE variable.

It is important to mention that all PM-related (including WPS) variables can be changed from the command prompt, before executing PMSHELL. This opens another possibility of setting up multiple configurations.

Presentation Manager without the WPS

This configuration enables Warp windows GUI, but without the features of the Workplace Shell. It displays a single command window, named the "Workplace Shell". The system reads both USER_INI and SYSTEM_INI files during the initialization process. The configuration is given by

together with
instead of the default value


The system can be shut down from the command prompt, by executing SHUTDOWN.

The WPS can be started by executing PMSHELL. Because the WPS is not started automatically, all WPS-related variables are still changeable from the main command window, before executing PMSHELL.

In particular, it is possible to define the desktop folder, by setting the value of DESKTOP. The value may be the desktop folder object ID, or its physical location on the hard disk. If the DESKTOP is not defined, the WPS looks at the USER_INI file to get the desktop information. If the AUTOSTART list contains FOLDERS, then the desktop will be opened during the WPS initialization.

Workplace Shell without the Desktop

It is possible to start the WPS without opening the desktop folder. This is ashieved by using the standard configuration


Now, to tell the WPS not to open the desktop folder during the initialization process, it is sufficient to remove the parameter FOLDERS from the AUTOSTART list.

Warning: If the desktop is not opened, then all the objects that were opened the system was last shut down will not restart and the system startup folders will not be processed. So in order to have a usable system it is necessary to open something. The appropriate objects should be started from the STARTUP.CMD file, which is processed during PM initialization (and before the WPS). For example, we can open one or several command windows. And from a command window any other WPS object can be opened (for example via the START command or using the appropriate REXX scripts).

/* A simple REXX-script to open the desktop folder */
Call RxFuncAdd "SysLoadFuncs", "RexxUtil", "SysLoadFuncs"
Call SysLoadFuncs
Call SysOpenObject "<WP_DESKTOP>", "ICON", "FALSE"

About the AUTOSTART variable

The variable AUTOSTART determines the components of a Warp system that start automatically at each system startup. The default CONFIG.SYS setting is


where the above parameters are
If present in the AUTOSTART list, all applications that were running when the system was last shut down will be restarted during the WPS initialization. Requires FOLDERS to work, and is WPS-related.
This enables the Window List. Read during PM initialization.
If present in the AUTOSTART list, all network connections that were in use will be restored. Read during PM initialization.
This reopens all folders that were open when the system was last shut down. In addition it always opens the desktop folder, no matter whether or not the desktop was opened when the system was last time shut down. Having in mind that the desktop is a work area folder, this implies that the objects (opened from the desktop) will be restarted too. It is a WPS-related parameter.
This opens the Warp LaunchPad, assuming the desktop will be opened.
This starts the WarpCenter (new with Warp4), assuming the desktop will be opened.

Work Area Folders

Desktop folder is an example of a work area folder. Folders possessing the work area attribute behave in a very special way:

All the objects opened from a work area folder are automatically minimized/hidden, if the folder is minimized or hidden. A similar thing happens when closing the folder--then all the objects opened from this folder will be closed, too. Furthermore, reopening the folder will reopen all the objects that were closed automatically.

The work area attribute checkbox can be found on the File page of the folder settings notebook.

Minimizing the desktop

The desktop folder can be hidden by applying Shift+dclk1 on the desktop entry in the Windows list (applicable to all the objects within the Windows list).